17 killed in violence in Iraq's Anbar province

Photo: 17 killed in violence in Iraq's Anbar province / Arab World

A total of 17 people were killed and 23 others wounded on Saturday in separate attacks across Iraq, including the volatile province of Anbar, police said, Xinhua reported.

Four soldiers were killed and two members of a government- backed Sahwa paramilitary group wounded when gunmen using mortars and machineguns attacked their base in Albu Delma, just northwest of the provincial capital city Ramadi, some 110 km west of Baghdad.

The Sahwa militia, also known as the Awakening Council or the Sons of Iraq, consists of armed groups, including some powerful anti-U.S. Sunni insurgent groups, who turned their rifles against the al-Qaida network after the latter exercised indiscriminate killings against both Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities.

In a separate incident, anti-government gunmen attacked an army patrol in al-Houze district in central Ramadi, leaving three soldiers killed after they destroyed their vehicle.

Elsewhere, a fierce clash erupted between a commando force and gunmen, believed to be linked to al-Qaida militant group, in the town of al-Garma, just east of the militant-seized city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, killing seven gunmen.

Meanwhile, five civilians were wounded when several mortar rounds landed in the town of al-Saqlawiyah, just north of Fallujah. The mortar rounds were believed to be fired from military bases outside the town.

Separately, a policeman was critically wounded when a sticky bomb attached to his car was detonated in the town of Baghdadi near the city of Heet, some 160 km west of Baghdad.

Six civilians and two members of Sahwa paramilitary group were wounded by a roadside bomb explosion at a checkpoint manned by the Sahwa members in Abu Ghraib area, some 25 km west of Baghdad.

In Baghdad, four people were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded at an intersection in Adhamiyah district in the northern part of the capital, while two civilians were wounded in a blast of a sticky bomb attached to their car in eastern Baghdad.

In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, two civilians were shot dead and another wounded in two attacks by gunmen near the provincial capital city of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad.

An armed man was killed in a clash with a security force near the town of Udheim, some 50 km north of Baquba.

Iraq is witnessing its worst violence in recent years. According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, a total of 8,868 Iraqis, including 7,818 civilians and civilian police personnel, were killed in 2013, the highest annual death toll in years.

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